Three “Huh?” Moments in MMA Last Week: July 17 Edition

Mayweather vs. McGregor Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather (mayweather-mcgregor)
Credit: Rosie Cohe/Showtime

Our corner of the sporting world is in the mainstream spotlight, as combat sports takes center stage this summer. Meanwhile, the UFC’s plans for the fall are shaping up, and we hope they include the most recent ESPY award winner for Fighter of the Year.

Finding the proper response to much of the news finding its way into our social media feeds is becoming a tougher task every day. Nothing is surprising, and there’s always more to the story. Leaving us with one reply: “huh?”.

Last week, we were cascaded with coverage of Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor’s global media tour, which is now thankfully over. As is the voting for the 2017 ESPY for Fighter of the Year, which went to UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. When he fights next is in question, but it’s not looking like they’ll have room at UFC 217 in Madison Square Garden.

The reason “huh?”, in its various forms, is such a quality reply is simple. The word is as versatile as a response gets, and while it may require some explanation, “huh?” is sometimes the only way to react to the news of today. Defined by Merriam-Webster as an interjection that’s “used to express surprise, disbelief, or confusion, or as an inquiry inviting affirmative reply”, “huh” or “huh?” can mean a lot of different things.

Despite some of the follies of human evolution (see: Donald Trump Jr. ), the development and growth of “huh” is something we should embrace. To be the change we want to see in the world, here are a few MMA stories last week that made us go “huh?”.

4. UFC 217 rumors have begun

While we anxiously await what is undoubtedly the card of the year in UFC 214 later this month, it looks like the promotion once again has big plans for Madison Square Garden. Debuting at MSG last year, the UFC put together one of the best cards in recent memory. If you consider featherweight champion Max Holloway a credible source, the promotion is stacking their card slated for MSG in November.

Last week, Holloway tweeted out an unofficial fight poster for the event, UFC 217, featuring himself and featherweight title-contender Frankie Edgar. Also on the poster? UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt and number-one contender TJ Dillashaw. Huh.

Two of the best fights that the promotion could possibly make, Holloway-Edgar and Garbrandt-Dillashaw get every fight-fan’s juices flowing. Putting them at MSG, despite the consistent struggles with the New York State Athletic Commission, excites us even more. Even better? According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s team is hoping to secure his return to the Octagon against Tony Ferguson at UFC 217, too.

UFC 205 was a bunch of fun, and we’re happy that the promotion loading up the cards for MSG is becoming a regular occurence. Of course, it’s a ways off, and this is anything but official. But, we’re all for it. Which probably means it will get announced, and then ripped from us at the most dramatic moment, as the MMA Gods are bound to do.

3. Mighty Mouse takes home ESPY for Fighter of the Year

He may not be the UFC or Dana White’s favorite fighter, but Demetrious Johnson is certainly a fan-favorite. Taking home the 2017 ESPY for Fighter of the Year, an award voted on by the fans, Johnson beat the likes of Conor McGregor, Andre Ward, Gennady Golovkin, and Terence Crawford for the honors. Huh.

The timing couldn’t be much better for Johnson, whose recent public spat with promotion President Dana White once again brought into question the flyweight champion’s ability to draw fans to himself and the UFC product. Feuding over who Mighty Mouse should fight in his potentially record-breaking title-defense in his next bout, White couldn’t help himself, and turned the negotiations into a circus.

After an apperance on The MMA Hour for Johnson, an admission of defeat from White, and then the moving of UFC 215 from August to September, the situation seems like it’s inching closer to a solution. If that solution features Johnson defending his title against Ray Borg as he attempts to break Anderson Silva’s record, and the ESPY’s are any sort of indicator, fight-fans will be more interested than White lets on.

2. The Mayweather-McGregor media tour happened

Anybody got some mouthwash? Or maybe deoderant? Anything to help get rid of the stink of whatever the hell the Mayweather-McGregor media tour was. Getting off to a weird start in Los Angeles, finding some fun in Toronto, bombing in Brooklyn, and wrapping-up in London, it was quickly clear that four days of two fighters non-sensically shouting at each other is about two days too much.

The tour featured legendary rappers, a serpent robe, and suits, as well as some misogyny, racism, and homophobia. According to UFC President Dana White, it’s just part of the deal. Huh?

“I think they’ve both had their moments, they’ve both had their moments,” White said. “It’s funny when people say they’ve taken this thing [too far]. These guys are gonna try to knock each other unconscious in about a month and a half. The verbal warfare is a part of the fight, too. But this is a fight — not a croquette game. It’s part of the deal.” – via MMAFighting

White has mountains of experience in fight promotion, and has made mountains of money doing so. That’s exactly what he, Mayweather, McGregor, and everyone involved in this fight are doing. The potential earnings available for each of the parties means the number of moral or social objections that could derail this moolah-monster are minimal. Combat sports get away with these types of things much more than other professional sports, due to their history, the way the organizations are structured, and as White puts it, “this is a fight”.

Why two professionals fighting on a stage like this means that decency has to go completely out the window, is a question we wouldn’t mind answered. It’s not like there isn’t plenty of other material for both fighters, making the questionable aspects of the trash-talk even more unnecessary. But, all we have to do is look at the attention and notoriety gained for the bout by those involved. Everyone is talking about this fight, despite, and because of, the morally questionable trash-talk.

As much as we might’ve been constantly cringing last week, the Mayweather-McGregor meida tour was a massive success for those promoting the bout. Bleh. You got that mouthwash, yet? We have another six weeks of this.

As we prepare to enjoy what is, for now, the UFC card of the year at UFC 214, Max Holloway shared that we may have more to look forward to at UFC 217 this November. Hopefully we’re treated to ESPY award-winner Demetrious Johnson’s attempt at breaking Anderson Silva’s title-defense record before then, as we wade through the murky morals surrounding Mayweather-McGregor.

1. Huh? For the Road